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Another Construction Worker dies: Accident at small residential complex in Chikkalsandra

On 04.07.2008, the Kannada daily “Praja Vani” reported an accident at a construction site at Chikkalsandra in which one construction worker Raju (25 years) of Tamila Nadu died while another Thirupathi also of T.N. (Krishnagiri) was injured as mud caved in on them when they were digging a trench for sewage lines. To look into the matter, Satya from Karnataka Janapara Vedike and Clifton from Alternative Law Forum visited the spot and spoke to people nearby and the police.

The Accident:

The accident has taken place at the ground+1 residential complex of one, Devaraju. The accident, according to the official complaint lodged with the Subramanyapura Police Station, took place on 03.07.2008 at about 5.30 p.m., when mud caved in on the workers as they were digging a 2′ wide and 14′ deep trench for laying sewage lines. The compliant filed by Mukund C. Madagi of the BWSSB states that the work was being carried out without any official clearances or permissions and that absolutely no safety precautions were taken by the house owner, Devaraju, under whose directions the work was being carried out. As a result, mud caved in causing the death of Raju (aged about 25 years), and causing serious injury to Thirupathi. Incidentally, both are from Tamil Nadu.

According to Shri K.Sadanand, PSI, Subramanyapura Police Station, the police received information of the accident within minutes of its occurrence and immediately rushed to the spot. On assessing the situation and finding the need for a JCB, the police immediately got a JCB to excavate the mud and remove the two buried persons. According to the police, Raju was buried completely under the mud while Thirupathi was neck deep in mud. The police then shifted both to KIMS hospital. Thirupathi was taken to Maharaja Amarsingh Hospital (Padmanabhannagar) for treatment. Meanwhile the doctors at KIMS conducted the autopsy on Raju on the morning of 04.07.2008 and have fixed “asphyxiation” as the reason for death. The police, on the basis of the complaint, have registered a FIR under sections 304-A (criminal negligence leading to death) and 337 of IPC, and also arrested Devaraju (house owner) who has since been released on bail.

This is another in the growing list of construction workers facing death or injury due to the lack of safety precautions in the work. It is also important to note that in this case the police have immediately arrested the owner of the building. Importantly, in none of the other incidents reported thus far over the past three months, most notably the accidents at Shobha Magnolia or Golden Palms or Shobha Chrysanthemum, has the police taken the initiative to arrest the accused. It has to be inferred that the police react immediately with arrest when it is a person like Devaraju while the police let the bigger developers run scot-free.

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